Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Tensions between Indonesia and Malaysia are frequently the result of mass media reports that cater to the interests of the media owners concerned, ANTARA News Agency Editor-in-Chief Saiful Hadi said.

"Our media industry, especially television, is influenced by ratings and the more frequent it presents controversial issues, the higher the ratings it gets," Saiful said at an international seminar on the future of Indonesia-Malaysia relations and ASEAN here Thursday.

Saiful said several print and electronic media often fueled confrontational sentiments against Malaysia with the aim of cornering the government.

"Television reports always compare the two countries` forces. Among such news contents are those focusing on Indonesia`s armaments. They are not directed at Malaysia but the government," he said.

"TV station owners often infuse their own interests into the news. It is actually them who are in conflicts of interest to show that the government is weak," he said.

He further said it was difficult to make balanced stories on the relations between the two neighboring countries as usually Malaysia did not want to give clarifications on cases involving the two nations.

"Indeed, mass media find it difficult to get material from Malaysian sources so that there is often no balance in their reporting," Saiful said.

"We need a Malaysian ambassador who dares to face every problem arising (in Indonesia) and to visit campuses, the parliament and meet the masses," Saiful said at a seminar also attended by some thinkers from Malaysia.

Relations between Indonesia and Malaysia were frequently fraught with tensions because of issues related to borders, Indonesian workers and historical matters.

The tensions between the two countries which are co-founders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are related to various questions, including the confrontation against Malaysia during the era of first Indonesian President Soekarno, the Sipadan and Ligitan issues.

He said Commission I of the House of Representatives had found that Malaysia had laid claim to the Camar Bulan area in West Kalimantan by showing as part of Malaysian territory in its government`s administrative map.

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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